Vegetables You Should Be Eating Every Week, According to a Dietitian

It’s no secret that eating vegetables is good for your health. Even though the specific nutrients found in vegetables vary between types, all varieties offer health benefits. Eating the recommended five servings of produce a day and including a variety of sources helps you get in the vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants your body needs to thrive.

There are some vegetables that have more nutrients than others. What one vegetable is low in (vitamin C, for example), another may be a good source. That’s why variety is important,” says Alena Kharlamenko, M.S., RD, a media dietitian and founder of Alena Menko Nutrition and Wellness.

Here we’re sharing 5 of the most nutrient-dense vegetables you should be adding to your plate weekly, plus the benefits of doing so.

1. Arugula

This leafy green is nutritious, refreshing and packed with flavor. Also known as rocket, arugula has a spicy flavor which is unique among leafy green vegetables. It’s high in vitamin C and is a source of potassium, calcium, magnesium and folate.

Beth Stark, RDN, LDN, a food and nutrition communications consultant, says, “Arugula is a key source of folate, which helps support the production of DNA and is especially important during pregnancy or planning to become pregnant.”

2. Butternut squash

Butternut squash is a large vegetable with a thick skin and dense, orange center. The flesh of this winter squash is packed with nutrients, with 1 cup containing close to 50% of the Daily Value for vitamin C and over 10% each of potassium, fiber and magnesium. Butternut squash is also a source of beta carotene, the precursor to vitamin A which is essential for eye health and vision.

“Cube and roast butternut squash in the oven or puree it into a soup,” says Stark. This versatile vegetable can also be used in mixed dishes like casseroles or mashed for use in baked products like pancakes or muffins.

3. Carrots

Carrots are a type of root vegetable, a group that also includes potatoes, beets, turnips and parsnips. This nutrient-dense vegetable is rich in vitamin C, beta carotene, fiber and potassium.

Carrots also contain compounds that some research has found might reduce risk for certain cancers. One study, published in the journal Nutrients in 2020, found that higher self-reported intake of carrots was associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer. While there are multiple limitations to this study, carrots are packed with important nutrients that make them worth adding to your diet on a regular basis to support better overall health.

4. Onions

Onions may not be the first things that come to mind when considering vegetables to add to your diet, but this member of the allium family, a group of vegetables that also includes garlic and leeks, is packed with nutrients and anti-carcinogenic compounds.

Onions are a naturally low-calorie and low-fat food and are a source of essential micronutrients including vitamin C and potassium. Interestingly, the outer layers of onions have been shown to have the highest concentration of antioxidant compounds, so try to peel them as minimally as you can before using them in cooking to reap the greatest benefits.

5. Brussels sprouts

Cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals with antioxidant properties. “Mini, cabbage-like Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin K [which is] particularly important for blood clotting and bone health,” says Stark. In addition, 1 cup of Brussels sprouts contains over 100% of the Daily Value for vitamin C and over 10% of the Daily Value for fiber.

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